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SKCC announces $24.5 million bond financing for new research center

Center will accelerate translation of laboratory discoveries into the clinic

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The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (SKCC) announced recently that $24.5 million in bond financing has been obtained through the auspices of San Diego County and Bank of America to fund the construction of a 79,000-square-foot research center.

Construction of the facility on SKCC's 10-acre campus atop Torrey Pines Mesa is expected by December 2006. The center will support current research programs and projects of new faculty being recruited.

Construction of the facility on SKCC's 10-acre campus atop Torrey Pines Mesa began Oct. 16, and completion is expected by December 2006.

Designed by Delawie Wilkes architects, this facility will expand the SKCC's capabilities to discover new cancer diagnostics and therapeutics. The center will create state-of-the-art facilities to support current research programs and projects of new faculty being recruited to the Torrey Pines Mesa.

These recruitments will be focused on drug development and cancer cell biology, tumor vascular targeting therapy, genomics and immunotherapy. The center has been featured nationally for its discoveries in cancer vaccines, genetic tests for therapy selection and prognosis in cancer, and its tumor vascular targeting program.

The SKCC Building Committee, headed by San Diego developer Doug Wilson, and former building chair, Nevins McBride Jr., has not only managed the complex process of design and environmental approvals, but its members have made gifts to the center that has enabled it to fund more than $1 million in pre-construction costs. Other building committee members include David Odmark, Elliot Feuerstein, Bud Fisher, Martha Demski and Nick Arthur.

The SKCC's faculty will use this facility to establish new drug development core laboratories. SKCC will continue its tradition of taking laboratory discoveries and translating them into new clinical diagnostic and cancer treatment programs.

These new facilities will be made available not only to SKCC scientists but also to scientists from neighboring institutions like University of California at San Diego, the Burnham Institute, and The Scripps Research Institute, who collaborate in SKCC's multi-investigator grants from the NIH.

The completion of the new research center will also make it possible for SKCC, through its collaborations with Sharp HealthCare and the Legler Benbough Foundation, to bring clinician scientists to San Diego who will expand the opportunities for state-of-the-art cancer treatment as well as help the SKCC translate its laboratory discoveries into the clinic.

The recruitment of these new investigators and scientific programs will be supported by a $5 million lead gift from Sidney Kimmel, Jones Apparel clothing magnate and several million dollars already pledged from local donors.

With these lead gifts in hand, a $12 million campaign to support translation of its discoveries into new directions in cancer diagnosis and treatment has been announced by Geri Ann Warnke, chair of the board of trustees of the SKCC, and Katherine Kennedy, Chair of the SKCC Foundation, the fund-raising arm of the center. The result will be new opportunities for cancer treatment here in San Diego County and throughout the world.

Founded in 1990, the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center is a nonprofit research institute dedicated to the development of advanced biological cancer treatments, such as gene therapy, angiostatic therapy, vaccine therapy and immunotherapy, and to making those treatments readily available to patients. The National Cancer Institute ranks SKCC as one of the top three cancer centers in the United States in the application of genomics and proteomics to the treatment of specific cancers. For more information, visit www.skcc.org, or contact Jay Jeffcoat, senior vice president of community, government and public relations, at (858) 410-4212 or JJeffcoat@skccfoundation.org.

Percival is president of Scribe Communications

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